I am an ecologist, writer, mapmaker, photographer, and cook based in San Francisco. I was born and raised in Italy and hail from a food-obsessed family.
My interest in ecology started in my early 20 while working on a vegetable farm in Northern Virginia, where I learned about hard physical labor and first observed animal/plant interactions up close. I have since obtained two science degrees (a BS in Biology from Cornell University and an MS in Earth and Environmental Systems Science from Stanford University) and have worked on a variety of field research projects in places ranging from Marin County’s riparian habitats to the Venezuelan Amazon, the Farallon Islands, and Antarctica’s Ross Island, where I studied birds, plants, and their interactions with humans and their habitats.
My interest and passion for food has been interwoven throughout: from always cooking for friends, to growing and selling vegetables in Virginia, to studying the ethno-ornithology of the Ye’kuana people of Venezuela, to helping California ranchers protect riparian habitat on their lands, to parsing out the foraging and spatial ecology of Adelie penguins, my interest in the ecology of food and food systems and in the synergy created by food-sharing has always been a driving force in my pursuits.
I now live in San Francisco with my husband and two children. I am happiest when my feet are on bare rock and my sights are set on something distant — preferably an iceberg, a seal, the ocean, or the next mountaintop. Alternatively, I am almost equally happy in my kitchen making stock and concocting the next culinary experiment, or teaching cooking classes in my community.
Other tidbits: I am a co-founder and former board member of Oikonos – a non-profit organization working locally and internationally to increase ecosystem knowledge through science, art, technology, education, and applied conservation. My work in Antarctica was featured in the Animal Planet documentary, “Return to Penguin City,” which premiered in March 2008. During my years working as a biologist for Point Blue (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory), I also obtained considerable training and experience as a spatial ecologist and mapmaker, and I’m very proficient in GIS. In 2012, I had a brief stint as a co-editor of Meatpaper, where I helped write articles and interviews for the magazine’s final two issues.